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The Last Word

News/Business. (2013) New.

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mpeg2video

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1920

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1080

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Fbi 13, Syria 13, Washington 11, Us 9, Iraq 6, John Boehner 5, Martin Luther King Jr. 4, Subaru 4, Obama 4, Dr. King 4, New York 4, U.s. 4, Jonathan Capehart 3, Assad 3, Karen Finney 3, Nascar 3, Bobby Kennedy 3, John Mccain 3, Steve Kornacki 3, David Cameron 3,
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  MSNBC    The Last Word    News/Business.  (2013) New.  

    August 29, 2013
    7:00 - 8:01pm PDT  

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un-unpentium will lose its place, and the scientists who created it will give it a new name. that said, the scientists theorizing about it, maybe they could just keep the name. the symbol u-up, everybody would just call it up, with steve kornacki. he could be the new face of the element, putting a handsome face and shine on it. keep it named up, come on. now it is time for "the last word" the lawrence o'donnell, have a great evening. a no from the british parliament on military action in syria, which begs the question, can the u.s. and prausesident oa go it alone? >> president obama makes his case for action in syria, this crisis in syria. >> president obama laid down his
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thoughts. however, congress right now very reluctant. >> many members of congress are not on board. >> some members are calling on congress. >> 116 congress members. >> the american representatives need to be a part of that discussion. >> we do need to see some approve. >> this whole debate is contaminated by the legacy of iraq. >> i am deeply mindful. >> british lawmakers are pumping the brakes, as well. >> the well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the iraq episode. >> because of iraq. >> the ground war is under way. those weapons of mass destruction have to be somewhere. >> this is not like iraq. >> there is a broad consensus here. >> i have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in syria. >> while washington is not talking about regime change, the syrian rebels certainly are. >> first and foremost to the
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american public, we do need to see proof. >> what would the legal justification be? >> what is the political purpose of trying to achieve? >> the president said there has to be consequences. >> there needs to be international consequences. >> that doesn't mean there has to be an all-out war. >> i am alex wagner in for lawrence o'donnell. more than 100 people have been brutally murdered in the last 48 hours. over 4,000 people have been killed in the past five months. over 500 criminals and terrorists are free after al-qaeda exploited a troubled and untroubled environment. that is the situation in iraq. the result of a seemingly unrelenting wave of violence. that legacy of the bush administration which convinced the american people to support a military invasion on false premises and faulty
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intelligence, which yielded thousands of american deaths, no wmds and a safe haven for terrorists where none existed before looms over the white house as president obama considers what to do next and convinces congress and the world that syria will not be a repeat of this. >> you know where they are, they're in the area around baghdad and tekrit. >> we believe he has nuclear weapons. >> we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. >> today, british prime minister david cameron tried to assure a skeptical parliament that he and president obama are not warmongers. >> the president is a man who opposed the war in iraq. no one could describe him as a man who wanted to create more
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wars in the middle east. i remember, i wanted to listen to the man standing right here, and believe everything that he told me. we're not here to to debate those issues today, but one thing is indisputed. the well has been poisoned by iraq. >> that case was not persuasive to the british parliament, which voted to reject the british military action in syria. >> i strongly believe in the need for a top response to the use of chemical weapons. but i also believe in respecting the will of the house of commons. it is clear to me that the british parliament reflecting the views of the british people don't want to see the british reaction. i get that. >> for his part, white house deputy press secretary firmly rejected any comparison to iraq. >> what we saw in that
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circumstance was an administration that was searching high and low to produce evidence to justify a military invasion, an open-ended military invasion with the final goal being regime change. that was the articulated policy of the previous administration. what we've seen here tragically, is a preponderance of evidence available in the public domain that the assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent civilians. we don't have to search high and low for that evidence. the evidence exists. the second thing is that the president is clear he is not contemplating an open-ended military action. he is contemplating what we're talking about here, something that is very discreet and limited. the president was candid in his interview that we are not talking about regime change. we are talking about enforcing a
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critically important international norm. so i thoroughly reject the suggestion that -- these situations are somehow -- >> the white house is doing a full-court press with members of congress. earlier today, president obama person personally called the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell, and house speaker john boehner, they briefed the members on a conference call. the chairman of the house intelligence committee told andrea mitchell the president does not need to get their votes in order to act. >> i do think that legally he needs to come up and consult with congress. again, you know, a few phone calls, those kinds of things. you have to have a robust discussion. congress needs to be involved in this process. >> you're not saying there has to be a vote. under the wars powers act i don't believe there has to be a vote. tonight, the "naushlg times" is reporting they are prepared to do solo strikes, president
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obama is prepared to movie ahead on syria. with a reject oion. joining me, chris hayes and steve kornacki. chris, the idea of war has loomed over every aspect of this debate. what are your thoughts as we find ourselves here on the eve of possible military strikes, possibly going it alone. i think for a lot of americans, that phrase even sends shivers down the spine. >> we should be clear here what the current terrain is and what the map looks like. there is no possibility of a u.n. security resolution, because russia and china won't stand for it. there is not a possibility now of any kind of joint exercise with the uk as we saw in that
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really stunning, stunning rebuke to david cameron that happened across the ocean. we should know it is very rare under the parliamentary system to lose a vote like that. we're down to basically us. and in terms of what the actual international legal foundation for a military strike is, that is unclear. the domestic legal foundation for it is unclear. so even before you get to the question about the moral calculation of whether it is right to do or strategically wise, there is no -- as far as i can tell, no very clear cut legal rationale domestically or internationally for a strike against syria. >> steve, as chris points out, the reaction from the british parliament is worth discussing. and i wonder how you think that informs congressional reaction. i mean, if david cameron was basically rebuked and said to the department, i get is, we're not going to go there.
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how does that inform the members who are very much in this debate? >> right, and chris says it is rare for it to happen in britain. what is rare in modern times and increasingly rare in politics is that congress really seriously involves itself in making foreign policy and making decisions like this. congress has been happy to sort of yield to the president and the executive branch, not just with president obama. we saw it with libya and the same thing with the strategic agreements that president bush signed that were not subject to confirmation by the senate. that essentially if it were treaties, congress and the last generation, you have a lot of members that were not experts on foreign policy, not an issue they were elected on. they're confronted with this, their big fears are something being put on the record. the authorized force comes back to haunt them. or maybe conversely, you think back to the 1991 vote, that was a very contentious vote that
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didn't get through, there were democrats that wanted to run for president in 1992, where they couldn't win. members of congress just don't want to be bothered with this generally. >> and chris also, i think we're in a different place in terms of where the republican party is on foreign policy. and they have these two wings that are almost at odds with each other. you have the rand paul and the john mccain -- >> i said this the other day. i can't find anyone in my universe, the wide variety of people i saw on twitter, people i talk to on the street that come up to me, that i talk to in a deli or family and friends who really wants to have a military strike in syria. the foundational political fact is that it is incredibly unpopular. that has manifested itself in a democratic fashion in the united kingdom. it is about to manifest itself domestically. you're seeing it in the letters
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that are being sent from members of congress, i think they think it is politically untenable and unpopular. and what would be reasonable to see is, john boehner can just call a vote. he could just say let's have a vote on whether it is a good idea. that would be great to get the article one foundation institutional policy on the record. >> i can't imagine, i don't know that john boehner would put his own caucus in that position. there are a lot of republicans that don't now how to really reconcile their desire to end what is seen as a bad thing over there in syria. 100,000 people are dead, there are 1.5 million refugees, it is an incredibly unstable regional conflict at this point. and then the reality of how you end that and the fact that there is no silver bullet. i just don't know that republicans can take the votes, the hawks versus the
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libertarians. >> what you really have to be looking out for here again, it is not -- there is that republican split. it has to do with a lot of members of congress. it is one thing to hear a lot of noise saying we have questions and need answers. that is sort of standard in modern times. my question is when it becomes more than that, we want to go on the record, our name saying yes or no to this. that is not something that congress has wanted to do when they can avoid it. is it different this time? >> and now to your point about this cleavage between the rand paul caucus in the republican party, i think there is a big difference in the senate and house. the senate, the republican caucus is still sort of majority in john mccain's corner on these kinds of things. that is not the case in the house. i would imagine a majority of the republicans in the house, if we took a vote right now on syrian intervention.
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>> we shall see, steve kornacki, thank you both for joining us tonight. thank you. coming up, the pressure is on the cia to produce the intelligence. and what happened after the march on washington? the fbi started looking very, very closely at dr. martin luther king jr. their conclusions are coming up next. (growls) (man) that's a good look for you. (woman) that was fun. (man) yeah. (man) let me help you out with the.. (woman)...oh no, i got it. (man) you sure? (woman) just pop the trunk. (man vo) i may not know where the road will lead, but... i'm sure my subaru will get me there. (announcer) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. but you had to leave rightce to now, would you go? world, man: 'oh i can't go tonight' woman: 'i can't.' hero : that's what expedia asked me. host: book the flight but you have to go right now. hero: (laughs) and i just go? this is for real right? this is for real?
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an unprecedented retreat in the war on drugs. the justice department announced today that it will not stop colorado or washington state from implementing their laws to legalize marijuana. attorney general eric holder told the governors of both state that is the department is reserving the right to sue the states to stop the laws if it believes the states had not put strong regulatory and enforcement rules in place. and in other enforcement news, it only took seven years but the atf finally has a director, todd jones was sworn
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in as the director of atf, he has been the acting director since 2011 while waiting for senate confirmation. he was one of the nominees who finally gained confirmation thanks to this year's otherwise not entirely effective filibuster deal. up next, the evidence against syria is not a slam dunk, what we do and don't know about the chemical weapons attack. [ male announcer ] what's important to you? at humana, our medicare agents sit down with you and ask. hanging out with this guy. he's just the love of my life.
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[ male announcer ] getting to know you is how we help you choose the humana medicare plan that works best for you. mi familia. ♪ [ male announcer ] we want to help you achieve your best health, so you can keep doing the things that are important to you. keeping up with them. i love it! [ male announcer ] helping you -- now that's what's important to us. >> we have looked at all the evidence. and we do not believe the opposition possessed nuclear weapons -- or chemical weapons of that sort. we do not believe that given the delivery systems using rockets
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that the opposition could have carried out these attacks. we have concluded that the syrian government in fact carried these out. and if that is so then there needs to be international consequences. >> well, president obama yesterday told the pbs news hour that the syrian government is in fact responsible for a chemical weapons attack that left hundreds dead. u.s. officials told the associated press that the intelligence on the august 21st attack is "no slam dunk." a reference to the word that george tennent used to lead up to the iraq war. the evidence was they are not certain it was carried out under the orders of syrian president bashar al-assad. despite the mixed assessment, they tweeted this message five days after the attack. haunting images of families dead in their bed. the verdict is clear, assad used cwf against the civilians.
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the same day, her predecessor and currently national security adviser susan rice said only the regime has the capacity to conduct this with rockets. meanwhile, they took the step of releasing the intelligence assessment with reports that assad was highly likely responsible for the chemical weapons attack. joining me, the chief of staff at the cia, jeremy, there are so many questions here, but given your expertise in the field, how certain can we be about a chemical weapons attack? we're hearing two things, slam dunk, other officials are acting with certainty they gathered the evidence, despite the fact the british seemed like they were not going to take any action on this. how close to certainty can they get in weeks after an attack? >> well, it is great to be here, intelligence is never 100% certain, right? in many ways, you're trying to
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put together a picture of a lot of different things, you have human intelligence, signal intelligence, phone calls or other communications by the leadership. you're also talking to ngos, troops on the ground, to witness things. potentially doctors, also watching forces in the media. this is a case where unlike ten years ago, where we were trying to figure out what was saddam hiding, what were his secrets? here, we're actually talking about what is open and available for things to observe. if somebody wants to make the case that this is a fraud, this is a hoax, perpetrated by someone other than the regime, i would like to hear that. but for now, we have solid intelligence, assessment by a very respected intelligence committee in britain with whom we share a great deal of information, saying it is highly likely it was the assad regime. i don't think there are going to be too many doubts about who did this. the real question is what do we
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do about it? >> i sort of want to focus on it. unlike iraq, where the administration was looking for a reason to go in, this administration seems like they really don't want to find that the red line has been crossed. i mean, they're going in sort of highly skeptical, given the fact that they are finding the evidence. it is putting the president in a very difficult position. and i guess the question is, if this is all about a deterrent, the red line has been crossed. in as much as we are not trying to affect the situation in syria, we're trying to assess the bad actors from using their own chemical weapons, what does the united states need to do in order to make sure it is an effective deterrent, whatever strike we order. >> he doesn't want to get us into an open-ended conflict. if you look at the instance in which he applied the military force, putting the troops into afghanistan. participating in the coalition
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against libya, and putting the special forces into pakistan to get to osama bin laden, those were cases where the president wanted to be careful and get to a specific end game. here, i think we're not looking for an open-ended military conflict. but the military strategy is probably on the president's desk. that the joint chiefs are probably looking at right now. i've been in some of the rooms where the military options have been discussed. the number one reason, to degrade his capabilities, to deter him from doing this again. we have lost some of it, it is to hold at risk something that assad values. so if we can put in our sight those things we values, the military command in control, the military headquarters, the rocket-firing capabilities, and some of his air offensive, that can be accomplished. >> can that be accomplished with
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military strikes? >> it can be accomplished, we just put on station a fifth guided missile destroyer, the uss stout came to the eastern area today. we'll have enough fire power, while we would love to have allies like the brits, we don't need them for fire power, we need them for diplomatic support, and we get that it was not about those things. it was really about military support. we don't really need them for that. we'll have enough fire power to bring this problem. >> jeremy bash, a helpful assessment of what we may actually do. coming up, who was not marching on washington yesterday. republican leadership, karen finney and jonathan capehart joining me to discuss the elephants not in the middle of the room. silence. are you in good hands?
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on monday, the republican national committee held a lunch commemorating the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. chair of the rnc, reince priebus, said this. >> what lessons we can learn? what i can learn as chairman of the party? you know, you can't make the sale if you don't show up and ask for the order, right? and this is a good example of somebody that a few weeks ago said you know, we need to be a part of this. we need to commemorate this historic day. >> you can't make the sale if you don't show up. in the spotlight tonight, not one republican invited to speak at the actual commemoration of the march on washington actually
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showed up. every republican that was invited had a scheduling conflict except former president george w. bush. the former president is recovering from a procedure to clear a blocked artery. so organizers invited his brother, former governor jeb bush, who also then declined. house speaker john boehner couldn't attend because he is on a 35-day bus tour for incumbent members. house republican majority member eric cantor declined because he was in north dakota touring agriculture businesses. john mccain also declined because he had public events in arizona. michael steele, the first black republican lieutenant governor of maryland and a national committee chair assessed the situation in the pages of "the washington post." he said it is part of a continuing narrative that the party finds itself in with these big deals from the minorities around the country and how they
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receive our response to them. in other words, you can't make the sale if you don't show up. joining me now, karen finney, and jonathan capehart. i would say it is a magical moment on the mall, in some ways, disheartening, no leadership from the republican part of the aisle must show up. i must read you a statement that eric cantor made just moments ago, underscoring the remarks in selma. he said i am proud to participate in this year's event. we have the opportunity to come together and celebrate this powerful moment in history. i look forward to visiting the sites of so many landmark civil rights events and reflecting on the sacrifice that shaped the great democracy that we live in today. and yet, apparently, yesterday's events? >> not so much. here is the thing, if there was a political concern about what
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they say, if you can't show up and just say something nice about your colleague, john lewis, who got his head beat in for fighting for rights, maybe something nice about martin luther king jr., the change the country has seen, i mean, that is a problem. that is a slam dunk kind of event. there is no reason that they shouldn't have gone. particularly because while it is true are people going to remember this a year from now, no. but it would have been a check mark in their box. it would have made some of the rhetoric that we have been hearing since the start of the autopsy a little bit more credible if they actually said you know what? we're going to go to this event. and we're going to say some nice things about some really important people. and it is not partisan. >> you know, jonathan. i think of reince priebus as sort of like a character, sort of rolling this boulder up the hill, only to have it fall back on him. trying to say -- you can't make the sale if you don't show up.
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and nobody shows up. >> and also, another thing that he says in this clip is, if we have a great story to tell, we republicans, about what we've down in regard to you know, civil rights. well, you know what? you haven't done a whole lot since about 1960. >> yes. >> so if you have to go back almost 60 years, certainly 50 years to talk about the great things you did, you kind of got a problem. i mean, let's -- we have to bring some context here. the majority leader cantor, speaker john boehner can come back and say you know what, we did come back and commemorate an event in late august, so they did do something. the problem is, as karen said, by not showing up. yeah, they didn't check the box or say anything nice about their colleague, they didn't commemorate their colleague, but what is missing is statesmanship. >> two things to add, one is,
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this is not just any old convention, this is former president clinton and carter, president obama standing on the steps of the national mall. this is a moment to truly honor on a national scale the legacy of dr. martin luther king jr. and karen, you know, republicans do show up for certain events. republicans had no problem appearing in droves at a quickly organized tea party rally. where gop lawmakers were in a long line, waiting to take the stage. some were not invited, but each showed up to -- >> think about it this way. it didn't occur to somebody back in june, you know what is coming up in august? that 50th anniversary. we should have somebody go to it. if you have to be told this event is coming up, that goes to part of the problem. as sort of the not paying attention -- that is more insidious. here it is, the tea party is our
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base, we'll cater to the base. >> people who are progressive. this is not part of the base. never mind the fact this is something much, much bigger than that. this is the legacy -- >> in this attitude from the time president obama was elected and received the nobel prize, that should have been a moment of pride for everybody. regardless of whether or not you support president obama, the world looked at the country and said wow, you did that. and we, as a country had had a moment to be proud. republicans chose to be bitter, angry, lots of excuses. saying yeah, you know what? we didn't win, this is a great thing for the country. >> you know, the thing is, it is not only a commemoration of the speech, a commemoration of the man, the civil rights icon. that march was a seminole moment in american history. the world changed after that event. the idea that the speaker of the house, the house representative. if you can't show up, you got a scheduling conflict, fine.
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how about send a letter. a proclamation where something was felt. >> and there were some statements released. although i have to say, karen, probably the best one was george w. bush saying our country has come a long way since then, yet our journey of justice is not complete. just to the east of the lincoln memorial where he will speak, there on the national mall, our president, whose story reflects the promise of america will help us more the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise. george w. bush said that. >> he understood statesmanship. what was happening yesterday was an american moment. not a democratic or a republican moment. it was a very important moment in the history of this country to mark it. we know a lot of people who had been there in 1963 will never be
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there again. what a historic moment to see the people together celebrating progress and looking to the future, and to say, essentially by not showing up, it is not that important, as a moment in american history. >> well, i think they will have a harder time making the sale. karen finney and jonathan capehart, thank you for joining us. coming up, what the fbi thought of the march on washington 50 years ago. and the phrase they used to describe martin luther king jr. after hearing his speech. and the man who may be the next mayor of new york city joins me just ahead. [ tires screech ] [ beeping ] ♪
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super bowl player mcman is suffering dementia, and tony dorsett had multiple concussions during his years on the field and says he is now suffering from memory loss. the plaintiffs accuse the league of hiding the risks of concussions, the nfl has denied all wrong doing. up next, the man who may be new york city's next mayor and pushed the democratic party to the left. smooth. for goddess skin you can feel and feel. only from venus embrace.
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and blood clots in the legs. tell your doctor about your medical conditions and medications, especially insulin, corticosteroids, or medicines to decrease blood clotting. in a clinical study, over 80% of treated men had their t levels restored to normal. talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. get the blood tests. change your number. turn it up. androgel 1.62%. all politics may be local, but no other mayoral race in the country could mean more for the national political discourse than the one in new york city. and that race now has a frontrunner with a commanding lead. a new poll of likely democratic primary voters shows that the city's public advocate, bill de blasio, now leads the pack a full 15% ahead of quinn. a candidate needs 30% to avoid a run off.
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there are 12 days until the primary, but one spokesperson said there is a good chance they could change their minds before the vote. the numbers changed because of weiner's fall from grace. so far, deblasioo borrowed a remark from the tale of two cities and steve buschemi, a great opinion piece in politico today explained why this race matters outside of the five boroughs of new york city. it could tell us something about the boundaries and possibilities of american liberalism. democrats who hold power rarely
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hold straight transfer policies anymore. that is why the campaign could be an episode. if deblasio is successful, could they push for more. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, alex. >> so let's talk about this bold proposal that at one point in american politics was not so bold. but the idea that those makes the most have to share a little bit more with those who are making the least. in some circles, this seems a fairly radical theory, and especially in a town like new york city where the discrepancy between rich and pour is so dramatic. the new york comptroller office used 2009 as a snap shot. the top 1% nationally earned 16% of the country's income. in new york, the top 1% earned
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32.5% of new york city's total income. that is a dramatic, dramatic divide. >> well, alex, we have the worst income disparity in the city that we have had since 1929, on the verge of the depression. it is not an acceptable state of affairs, i talk about the tale of two cities because people are living it. they know it is not the way forward. one way to address it is figure out how to help people move forward. clearly a tax on the richest, so that we can work on our public school schools that need so much help. this tax would pay for full-day pre k and pay for after school programs and middle school kids. it would help us finally start to address the racial achievement gap that is as clear as ever, based on the test scores that came out recently. so this is a fair common sense measure to address a crucial problem and to really get at the core of inequality.
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because education is one of the tools we have to address. i think most new yorkers think it is common sense to say folk whose are doing well can afford a little more to very modest increase in taxes, but to give us over half a billion a year to work with education. by the way, i think we've all seen the stock market lately, folks doing well are doing better than ever, investing in the stock market. it is a perfectly fair time to ask them to pitch in to help other folks. >> i have to ask you, though, bill, if new york city is a microcosm for the rest of the country, if the president proposed policies that would help the rest of the country, which is to say the bottom 90%, he is called a socialist, a swede. he is trying to redistribute funds. and he is called every name in the book. and i guess i wonder, to what degree are you concerned that the sort of money-making power class in new york will hear this message and use every weapon in
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their arsenal to prevent you from becoming mayor? >> i am sure some of that will occur, here is the message in the country. you have to stare it down and fight it back, not let people take it away from them. the core common sense. the people of the city get it. i have seen ample evidence, it is fair and just to ask the wealthy to do even more. even wealthy folks acknowledge the schools are not good enough. we're not preparing the kids for 20th century economy. i would like people doing well to recognize this is in their interest, too, to try to make this whole society work better for everyone. so i think those attacks will come. i'm not going to be surprised by them. i actually think that people will resent if those attacks are over the top. they will resent it. certainly in this country we need to build a majority that believes in fair share, that believes in asking the majority
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to do their fair share, so we can make the society fair for everyone. it is not working. in this approach, here is the other point. this status quo is not working for a huge percentage of americans and workers. so what is the definition of insanity? doing the same thing over and over and expecting another result. it is time for a more progressive approach. >> bill, we have been talking nationally about the policy of stop-and-frisk. you have come out with ads saying you're not okay with it. you're saying you're the only candidate to end the stop-and-frisk era that targets minorities. at the same time, you have been quoted of saying i think you can't eliminate the basic tactic of stop-and-frisk. so where are we to believe you land on the issue of stop-and-frisk? >> when it is used unconstitutionally, which is the way it is being done in a lot of cases. when it is used in a discriminatory manner, absolutely unacceptable. the policies of the city have
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supported, the mayor has supported an approach that has been discriminatory and has torn apart police and community relations. so i believe in only using the actual police tactic, when you have for example a suspect description. you stop people who fit that description. that is appropriate. but you can only do it in conformity with constitutional rights and without discrimination. >> i'm sorry to interrupt. do you think that is feasible, to use the stop-and-frisk? >> yes, in the bloomberg administration, it was used in a very limited manner and crime continued to go down. we're only going to get there with an independent inspector general to make sure there is oversight of the nypd. >> new york city candidate bill deblasio, thank you for joining us. and good luck in the race. thank you. coming up, what labelled martin luther king jr. two days after the march on washington. [ beeping ] ♪ [ male announcer ] we don't just certify our pre-owned vehicles.
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. up next, the fbi's reaction
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to the martin luther king jr. speech. to them, dr. king was deemed dangerous. now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle. but you had to leave rightce to now, would you go? world, need a little kick? ooh! man: 'oh i can't go tonight' woman: 'i can't.' hero : that's what expedia asked me. host: book the flight but you have to go right now. hero: (laughs) and i just go? this is for real right? this is for real? i always said one day i'd go to china, just never thought it'd be today. anncr: we're giving away a trip every day. download the expedia app and your next trip could be on us. expedia, find yours. so, if you're sleeping in your contact lenses, what you wear to bed is your business. ask about the air optix® contacts so breathable they're approved for up to 30 nights of continuous wear. serious eye problems may occur. ask your doctor and visit airoptix.com for safety information and a free one-month trial.
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martin luther king jr.'s "i have a dream" speech pushed him into the national spotlight and into the history books as one of the greatest orators of all time. but that speech also put him at the top of another list, the fbi's list. just two days after he led the
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march on washington, the head of intelligence william sullivan issued a memo saying personally, i believe in light of mr. king's speech that he stands head and shoulders over all other negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing the masses. we must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous negro from the standpoint of communism and a threat to national security. they authorized a full inspection. the senate hearings later revealed that the fbi's program to destroy dr. king as the leader of the civil rights movement entailed efforts to discredit him and collected information through an extensive surveillance program and employing intelligence gathering technique at the bureau's d
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disposal. >> at the dark side of the activities, were many americans not even suspected of crimes. we're not only spied upon, but they were harassed. they were discredited. and at times, endangered. joining me now, the author of "the fbi." and the pulitzer prize winner, thank you for joining us, david, i think -- for a lot of americans it is shocking to understand the depth of fbi surveillance on dr. king. and the really dark ulterior motives that they had to effectively topple one of the
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leaders in american history. i guess i wonder what about the speech was most horrible, if you will, to the fbi of the on some level, the crowds, the reaction, the passion, there is also moments like this, the equality. i want to draw attention to this part of king's speech. he says we refuse to believe the bank of justice is bankrupt. we refuse to believe there are insufficient funds. we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice, preaching a message of economic equality that i think probably sent a shudder down the spine of the repressive majority that was terrified of the black population in america. >> i think it is striking to anyone who hears or reads "i have a dream" in the present day to realize that the top people in the fbi characterized the
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speech as demagogic. at the time of the march on washington and "i have a dream," the fbi was already wiretapping two of dr. king's closer advisers, his lawyer, clarence jones, and another friend, stanley levison. you mentioned how just two months after the march the fbi begins to wire tap dr. king himself, both at his office and at his home. and so it is a very sort of full field coverage that the fbi, with the authorization of bobby kennedy as attorney general, is mounting against dr. king. >> david, you mentioned bobby kennedy. and i think that is also interesting to a lot of folks who think of the kennedys as heroes, in terms of civil rights and equality. the fact that bobby kennedy approved the wire taps what does that prove about the kennedys
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and race. >> the fbi was asserting to the kennedy brothers, both to the attorney general and the president that some of the advisers closest to dr. king, like stanley levison, were communi communists, or at least former communistss. and both of them came out of the liberal democratic mindset of the '50s. so when one knows the history, it is not shocking or surprising that robert kennedy as attorney general would flinch and flinch seriously when the fbi warned him that king was subject to "communist influence". >> the other lesson to be learned from this, if there is a lesson to be learned from this is the legacy of government surveillance. and how we seem not to have learned that there could be
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abuses of justice in conferring great power on the government to survail citizens. what happened with dr. king seems like it should have been illegal. was it illegal? and how did the fbi have the authority to do this? what do you you think are the issues when we are building the state in the 21st century? >> that is exactly the right point to emphasize, alex. what we see in the fbi's story in the pursuit of dr. king is everyone else in government who believing the supposed expertise and claims that the fbi was making about the danger represented by king, based on their supposed better secret knowledge. the bottom line lesson is very straightforward, very powerful. people, whether in government, or citizens, should not defer blindly to the supposed expertise of intelligence
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agencies. >> david garrow gets tonight's last word, thank you for joining us, david. >> thank good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight on "all in" after days of ratcheting up the rhetoric to intervene in syria, our congress and tonight the british parliament is saying not so fast. that in a moment. also tonight, fast food workers in 60 cities across the country spent the day on strike, protesting to raise their wage, shutting down some fast food restaurants. we'll talk to a u.s. congress person who joined the workers on the picket line today. plus, my interview with mayor cory booker who's running for u.s. senate. he responds to contemptible attacks on his personal life by